5 star rated houses in Victoria, Australia

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In Victoria all new homes built since July 2004 have been required to achieve a 5 star rating.

This means it is compulsory for new houses to have:

  • Star energy rating for the building fabric, and
  • A rainwater tank for toilet flushing or a solar hot water system, and
  • Water efficient shower heads and tap wear.

The average energy efficiency rating of houses in Victoria was only 2.2 stars before the introduction of 5 star standard. From 1 May 2008, the 5 Star standard will be extended to cover alterations to homes and relocations of existing homes.[1]


Why five stars is not enough

The five star rating system in place in Victoria is well below current standards in Europe. For example, it has the following shortcomings:

  • the efficiency of appliances (heating, cooling and electrical) are not assessed
  • the use of energy intensive appliances that can be avoided by good building design - such as evaporative coolers and air conditioners - is not assessed.
  • the use of thermal mass is not optimised - for example large unshaded brick walls facing north are allowed.
  • double glazing is not required - single glazing has a higher heat loss through windows.

A move to 7 star standards is required to reduce carbon emissions and energy use for residential housing. The final goal of reaching zero emissions housing needs to be set.

Examples of 5 star houses

Surrey Hills - 2 houses on a main road

These two houses house is newly built on a cleared block. They are on a main road. The price of the land for both would have exceeded $400,000.

The front of the house 1 is unremarkable.

At the rear of both houses:

  • A single solar hotwater panel on the north facing roof, but no solar photovoltaic panels. A lot of solar potential is wasted here.
  • A swimming pool is installed - which is a waste of water and chemicals.
  • There are no eaves or other shading over the north facing rear windows - which will transmit excessive heat into the house over summer months.
  • Brick thermal mass is also exposed to north facing sunlight - rather than being insulated byh a facade or shaded. This will also store and transmit excessive heat into the house over summer months.
  • The rear windows are not double glazed

The front of house 2 is reveals a large evaporative cooler on the roof, no eaves around the house, and extensive external brickwork.

See also


  1. 5 Star House, Victoria, Australia

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